Ten Ways to Become a Hero
There you are, sitting on the couch, watching TV, eating a meal you just cooked in the microwave and you can’t remember anything other than doing this yesterday, and the day before, and the day before….
How does it feel?
Lonely, depressing, sad?
Or do you feel anything at all? Are you just numb to your own existence?
Are you a robot that pushes a button, and in exchange you get video game tokens you can buy food with and pay your rent?
What will you do with this life?
Don’t you want to feel something? Don’t you want to do something? Don’t you want to have an adventure, have something to tell your grandkids about... A story that they will love to tell their children about?
It’s not going to happen with you sitting there on the couch, planning out your fantasy football draft.
I grew up like this, playing Nintendo at my parent’s house in Minnesota, eating pizza and reading National Geographics. I lived through my video games, playing Dungeons & Dragons, and watching Warren Miller ski movies. All I could dream about was one day moving out west, getting a job at a ski resort, and skiing 200 days a year, even if it meant washing dishes. The Dungeons & Dragons, the video games, they were all just a pacifiers, the nicotine patch that was keeping me fixed until I could get out there on my own.
By the time I graduated High School I knew I had to move west, and a month after graduation I got on a Greyhound Bus in Rapid City, SD and heading to the mountains with $600 in my pocket. The rest is history, but for now, I want to help you figure out how to get out of your comfort zone, how to find out who you are and what you’re made of, and sometimes you don’t even have to leave your own living room.
10 Ways to be a Hero
A Journey of Self-Discovery
"If death is not possible, then it is not an adventure. It is a sport."
- Reinhold Messner
"There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games."
- Ernest Hemingway
Ok, so you don’t have to risk your life to discover who you are, but a lot of my friends, along with my own experiences, reinforce the idea that the quickest way to self-awareness is when there are major consequences, or the experience of surviving major struggles and coming out stronger- mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
Of all the things holding you back from discovering who you are and what you’re made of, keep in mind a lot of these things mentioned below cost little or nothing to do, and that if you are really serious about them you will find a way. For me, reaching my goals of traveling the world and climbing meant I had to sacrifice the comfort of a home and lived out of cars for the better part of ten years. I lived on ramen noodles, pancake batter, and cans of tuna. I washed hospital sheets, bussed table, and worked in factories for quick cash. If I can do that, you can do something as simple as sitting down and meditating for 5 minutes.
Time to put on your big boy pants.
Ten Ways to Punch the Hero Card:
Meditate. Can you sit still for ten minutes? Have you ever tried it? You can sit at a desk for 8 hours and yet you can sit on a pillow on the floor and calm your mind. You can do better than that. Twenty-minutes of meditation a day will make you smarter, lower your blood pressure, and if you work really hard and not working really hard, you might even become enlightened in this lifetime. Learn to meditate here.
Go on an Adventure. You don’t have to go to the far reaches of the globe, just get out of your fucking house! Leave the iPhone at home. Step out your door, and start walking in any direction until something happens. An adventure doesn’t necessarily have to happen in the wilderness, lots of exciting things can happen walking the streets of New York City. If you can, maybe at least drive an hour so you get to somewhere you haven’t been before.
Go Climb A Rock. I have a bias as climbing was my vehicle for travel for many years. But nothing builds character or yields self-reflection like suffering on the North Face of Longs Peak in winter at 2:00am or dangling from a rope 100 feet off the deck. It also builds massive trust and deep relationships with your partners that I can only relate to going to war. Nothing binds a friendship like almost dying together. But of course I’m an extremist, just get to your local climbing gym and give it a go in a safe environment.
Go on Retreat. Get out and spend some time in a cabin in the woods reflecting on who you are. Read Walden. Go fishing. Hike around with no purpose other than wandering the earth. Check out of your normal life so you can recharge and grow. When you come back to the, “Real World,” your bills and taxes will still be there. Won’t it feel good that you took the time to spend some time in the woods? Who knows, you could drop dead tomorrow. Wouldn’t it be a tragedy spending your last day on earth in a traffic jam going to a job you hate? Seek a Retreat Here.
Volunteer. Nothing will give you a reflection of how well your life is going like volunteering at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen. Nothing will make you feel so grateful for what you have, even if it’s just your sanity. Nothing will make you feel more compassion and fulfillment like giving back. And don’t post that shit to your Instagram, do it just to do it. That’s really hero material.
Yoga. Frostbite and exhaustion up on a mountain face is no match to some of the discomfort I sometimes suffer while in a standing balance pose, dripping sweat, and cursing the 80 year old woman in front of my who makes it look easy. Yoga is a great fast track to personal discovery. Even if you just go to look at girls in spandex, hopefully you end up staying for the yoga itself, and pretty soon you will become more interested in your alignment that the girl in booty-shorts next to you.
Work on Yourself. Go to a kumbaya men’s circle and talk about your feelings. You might even realize you have feelings. It’s ok to have feelings. Self awareness about why you feel like you do will lead you to live a better life because you will make better decisions based on who you really are, and not who society or your parents tell you to be. Nothing is as rebellious as being your true self. Read Tony Robbins, join a men’s group, hit up Landmark Forum. Drink the Kool-Aid, drink it all until you wake up.
Kundalini. I put this as a separate item because it’s really hard for my to think of Kundalini as regular yoga, or as America Yoga. You don’t have to wear a turban. You don’t have to have a pony tail. You don’t have to change your name to Guru Billy. Just get in the room, oxygenate your blood, clear out your glandular system, chant, dance, and be silly. It works. It will make you smarter, calmer, and more vibrant. It has been one of the most life-changing things in my life, more than any drug I’ve ever done, and I’ve done plenty of research. Check out Ra Ma TV to test it out.
Be a mentor. This is where you will truly become a hero. Helping someone else will teach you about yourself. Even if it’s just reading your own kid a bedtime story or taking him out with his boyscout troop, giving back your time to the next generation and help them build a better tomorrow. How much time did you spend on Facebook last week…6-8 hours? You can give an hour to your local Boys & Girls Club every week.
Travel. Get out of your hometown, home state, or even your own country. When you travel through your normal environment you pass through the world with blinders on because you’ve seen it before and your subconscious checks out to where you’re going, or what you will be doing later. When you are in a new environment you notice new things because you’re forced to in order to meet your basic needs or habits, and in the process you will have to wake up, and remember what it is to have a beginner’s mind. The world will look fresh, and you will be recharged and delighted again. Say goodbye to Groundhog’s Day. Doing the same exercise in the gym with the same amount of weight will only maintain your current strength, you will not grow. Click Here to find trip with Adventure International.
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